End of Relief Program Devastates SI Liberians

Clifton, Staten Island (Photo by Wusel007, Creative Commons license)

At the end of March, President Trump announced the end of the Deferred Enforced Departure program for Liberians, a temporary status that has let immigrants from the African country stay in the U.S. since 1999 due to political conflict.

In a piece that appeared in City Limits, Liberian immigrant and Make the Road NY community organizer Jennifer Brumskine-Gray writes of the “shock” felt by her fellow compatriots over the decision as “DED beneficiaries have literally nothing to go back to if they are deported.”

With the decision to end the program over the next twelve months, thousands of families in communities like mine who have made Staten Island our home, will lose their legal status and become Trump’s new targets for deportation.

At least 8,000, and probably many more, Liberian immigrants live in Staten Island’s Park Hill, Clifton, and Stapleton neighborhoods, making the Borough one of the areas with greatest concentration of Liberians outside of Africa. In fact, Park Hill Avenue in Clifton, is often referred to as Little Liberia. There are thousands of tenants and homeowners who work hard to support their families and losing DED means losing it all.

She notes that the DED program has given some 5,000 Liberian immigrants the opportunity to work and live safely.

Is there any hope left? Find out at City Limits.

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